Saturday, 2 July 2011

Cardiff, conferencing...and socks!

Can't believe blogland has been so busy! Its just taken me a very pleasant hour or so catching up with all your lovely blogs - I did read some via my iphone while I was away but the commenting is a bit fiddly so wanted to go back and leave some comments. Only I think I am truly going a bit senile, cos I couldn't quite remember who I had tried to leave comments if I've repeated myself (or maybe worse, if I've changed my mind about which photos are my favourites...!) then sorry! Blame it on scatty brain and fickle mind!

And thanks so much for all your comments - I find it really encouraging to read your comments on the things I post, especially related to photos and crafty makes; gives me a bit more positive drive to do more!

Cardiff was great. The conference was inspiring in places - some great speakers that renewed my faith in what we can strive for in the NHS, in spite of the very best attempts of the powers that be to hamstring you with politics and beaurocracy! The company was fab - these things are always good for catching up with old friends and colleagues and there were some lovely people I hadn't seen in ages, so we laughed a lot, talked a lot and probably drank far too much (how does a bottle of wine disappear that fast???!!!). All of which was very restorative.

And I thought Cardiff was an interesting place - there are some stunning buildings, some beautiful park areas and some good shops.

What I didn't manage to do was take many photos! Because we were mainly walking around a few of us together, it wasn't easy to stop and take pics as I kept having to catch up with the others! So here are a few just to give you a flavour (and give me a reminder to look back at!):

My room in the hotel...

It wasn't the poshest of hotels (actually it was pretty much the cheapest I could find that didn't look dire!) - the room was really not much bigger than this! But it was clean and the bed was comfy enough - what else do you need really? And I'm a bit childish about hotels - I still get just a little bit of a buzz from the whole arriving, unpacking (even when I hardly took much for two days!!!) and investigating the mini toiletries thing! Is that a bit weird???!

When I arrived I had a bit of a wander round - partly to get my bearings and partly to stretch my legs after 5 1/2 hours on the train - this is one of the big shopping malls...

I loved all the topiary and the street sculptures (there are no end of interesting sculptures - didn't manage to get pics of them, another time maybe!).

Walking to the conference Thursday morning had to take a picture of this great man...

Well, I do work in the institution he set up!

The conference was in the City Hall which is a very grand building. I didn't manage to take a picture of the outside but couldn't resist a quick snap of the opulent staircase inside...

Its not a long walk down to the bay - the sun was shining and the sea looked lovely...

It was buzzing with people enjoying the early evening sunshine - and seagull! I didn't even notice this one on top of the lamp-post til I put it on the computer. (and the JD and coke I was sipping was going down very nicely...)

At the request insistence (!) of one of our group, we ate at the recently opened Jamie Oliver restaurant...

The surroundings were impressive and the food was pretty... but, if I'm honest, (even though I do quite like Jamie's take on cooking...) I thought it was a bit overpriced and I've had better meals. The food was nice but not spectacular and it was expensive. Anyway, been there, done that... the evening was made by the company not the restaurant!

The Cardiff Arms stadium is huge and the white framework is visible at various points around the city above the buildings...

The castle is impressive too - we didn't get time to visit but walked through the beautiful castle park...

Beautiful long flower beds (need some of this colour in my garden!)...

And the most enormous alliums...

Its difficult to get a sense of scale here but they must have been 6 inches across!

It was a lovely trip and I'd have liked a couple of days more just to explore the city properly - another place on the list of places to go back to!

So on to socks!

The advantage of all those hours on the train was lots of knitting time! So...

Ta dah! Pair of socks no 2 finished! I think these have only taken me about 10 days (including 2 long train trips...) and although I'm quite pleased with them I am still on a sock learning curve! I used a different pattern and method this time (same wool cos I just thought I might as well use it up) - this time I used this pattern which was pretty easy to follow once I'd sussed the US terms but I did a stupid thing with the shaping on the foot...

I don't know how well you can see it but I didn't read the pattern properly on the first sock! Dur! And didn't notice til I'd almost finished the second! So on the first one I decreased for the foot too fast without a plain knit row between decreasing rows. I feel very irritated by being so dumb but as they are only for me and it doesn't seem to make a huge difference to how they fit on the foot I couldn't face undoing them! Note to self - read the pattern properly next time!

And I have definitely got the sock bug cos now...

I am daring to get going with socks 3, using the 4 ply Opal yarn. These might take me a bit longer as it is so much finer and I am trying a 3rd pattern I found on ravelry to see if I think its more straightforward. We'll see!

Must follow Alice's link to master kitchener stitch for finishing the toes as I definitely haven't got that bit quite right yet...

Til next time then,



  1. Very beautiful pictures! Love how they are full of life! awesome!

  2. Cardiff looks wonderful, I love looking at the buildings and flora of different places. The flowers are so pretty and colorful, I must see if I can find some to pop into the garden this year. I'm like you I love to look at all the goodies at a Motel, your bed looks very comfy, better than what we have here. Socks are looking great, I haven't started my dads as yet.
    x Sandi

  3. Cardiff looks like a lovely place, you will have to go back and explore that castle, it looks amazing! Nice socks! No one but you would notice the missing rows, it doesn't seem to make too much difference does it? I have put my socks on hold for a bit, its end of financial year here and the bookwork is calling. I know if I cast on a pair of socks they will take preference :-) Lucky you to have two train trips to sit and knit!

  4. The socks look great. I am guilty of not reading patterns properly :( Your trip to Cardiff looks really fun and interesting....and the gardens look gorgeous xxx

  5. lovely pics, cardiff looks like a lovely city,have been to swansea, real nice too, in fact driving in Wales is a great experience, beautiful views. Love your socks, i'm not much good at knitting just the very basics so have never tried sock making, yours are brill, real cosy & comfy :)
    Karen x


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